Here are 10 leadership books that I’ve appreciated over the last year.
For the last few years at New Year I’ve written a discipleship blog about 10 books that have inspired me in the previous 12 months (you can click here for the latest offering). But this is a new and different list. This is for leaders – especially Christian leaders – who desire to go from good to great. So here we go.
1) Cynthia A Montgomery’s ‘The Strategist’
You may be full of vision but unless you can turn vision to action, you’re just dreaming. That’s why it’s good for leaders to be stretched in their strategic thinking. This book by Cynthia Montgomery, who teaches at Harvest Business School, is practical and full of examples of why and how to become a better strategist.
2) Neil Cole’s ‘Church 3.0’
Cole is a seasoned and respected church leader who knows how to plant churches that multiply in a post-modern context. Read anything and everything he’s written. Including this excellent book.
3) Neil Cole’s ‘Journeys to Significance’
Cole told me that this may be the most significant book he’ll ever write. I agree and highly rate this book. He charts St Paul’s developing leadership and church planting strategy through a fresh reading of Acts and the Pauline epistles. If you’re a church leader, bible teacher, church planter, evangelist or a combination of any or all of these, this is a must read.
4) Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson’s ‘Rework’
Recommended by Seth Godin, this is an easy read with lots of short blog-length chapters. It challenges much assumed thinking about how to work and is fresh, interesting and straight-talking.
5) ‘Letters From Leaders’ compiled by Henry Dormann
This is a lovely read. It’s a collection of letters from famous leaders giving advice to young people. Most letters are short and to the point.
6) Dave Ferguson & Jon Ferguson’s ‘Exponential’
The Ferguson brothers share their story and how God’s desire is for his church not just to grow by addition but by multiplication. Writing with humour, humility and with a clear desire to teach and explain this is a helpful and inspiring book of how God can use ordinary people to start a missional church movement.
7) Eugene Peterson’s ‘The Pastor’
Peterson is one of the most influential pastors of our time and this autobiographical account of his life as a pastor is exceptional. I re-read this book recently and found it just as inspiring, challenging and thought-provoking as the first time.
8) Craig Groeschel’s ‘It’
This book is hard to categorise but I enjoyed it. Groeschel heads up lifechurch.tv in Oklahoma and thinks that some ministries have it. Some don’t. Most churches want it. Few have it. When a church has it, everyone can tell. This books is about where it comes from, what contributes to it, and, if you’ve lost it, how to get it back and guard it.
9) Henry Blackaby & Richard Blackaby’s ‘Spiritual Leadership’
This is an engaging and well-written book for Christian leaders. The Blackabys helpfully explain ways in which God develops, guides and empowers people to lead. Their desire is for leaders to make a positive impact on the people and organisations they lead.
10) Wayne Cordiero’s ‘Leading on Empty’
Cordiero shares with honesty and candour his experience of burnout and the things he did to rebuild a better life and more effective ministry. There are few books that Bill Hybels says are ‘a must-read for all leaders’ but this is one, so get it, read it and learn the leadership lessons.
So there we have it. 10 books on leadership, for leaders. I’m assuming, of course, that the best book on leadership of all – the bible – is read daily as a devotional and leadership manual. Don’t try to lead without regular input from God’s word. That’s not a wise or strategic way to lead.
I like to read in the field of leadership and will continue to do so in 2014. But I don’t do so just for the sake of knowing more information about leading. Instead I read on leadership because I want to be a more effective leader. And I want to teach others to lead better too. After all, that’s what’s at the heart of leadership – influencing others.